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Survey: telehealth improves outcomes, but pay an issue

Article

Improved patient outcomes are the biggest benefit of the use of telehealth, and the main barrier to telehealth adoption is reimbursement, according to a national survey of healthcare and information technology professionals sponsored by Intel Corp.

Improved patient outcomes are the biggest benefit of the use of telehealth, and the main barrier to telehealth adoption is reimbursement, according to a national survey of healthcare and information technology professionals sponsored by Intel Corp.

Two-thirds of the healthcare professionals surveyed use telehealth, and collectively they have an 87 percent satisfaction rate, the survey found. Of the respondents not using telehealth, 50 percent said they plan to implement use within the next year.

Those using telehealth said that, in addition to improved patient outcomes, other benefits of telehealth use include more complete clinician access to patient data and the early identification of health issues. Survey participants also reported a belief that the adoption of new technology will reduce costs.

Changes in reimbursement policy will be necessary to enable wider access to telehealth care, participants said. After reimbursement, the next major barrier to adoption is concern that clinical staff and patients will be unable to successfully use new technologies, the survey found. Respondents also believe that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will accelerate the adoption of telehealth.

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
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© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health